Study to Grow
By Doug Bell
8¶ “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
Love. A very powerful word, but used to define almost anything. Thus, rendering it almost useless! I may say, “I love my wife,” or I may say, “I love Hot dogs.” You have no way of knowing which I love more. Nor, does it give you any insight into how much or with how much passion I love either one.
By now most people have heard in a sermon or read in an article, how the Greek language has several words for love. Such as,
Eros (ἔρως): Refers to romantic love felt towards one’s spouse. This Greek term is where the word “erotic” is derived from. The word "Eros" is not actually used in either the Old or New Testaments.
Phillia (φιλία): Refers to feelings one has towards close friends “brotherly love” (think Philadelphia). This word was used in the New Testament to describe Jesus’ love for his disciples (John 20:2) and for Lazarus (John 11:3).
Agape (ἀγάπη): This is the kind of love that we should have for all men, and also for our enemies. It is a selfless kind of love that Christians must have in regard to acting in the best interest for all human beings.” But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:44).**
Agape Love then, being the highest form of love, is the type of love Christians are to aspire! It is the love God our Father had expressed for us when He sent His only begotten to die on the cross!
And this is why Paul says in our verses today that if we ‘agape’ our neighbors, we won’t sin against them breaking one of the last six commandments of the Decalogue. Paul gives us the greatest example of how we are to do this!
1¶ “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”